Reykjavik Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Reykjavik

Reykjavik is filled with things to do that range from the usual suspects (museums like the National Museum of Iceland and The Settlement Exhibition) to more uncommon attractions like geothermal spas at the nearby Blue Lagoon. There's also shopping in the form of markets, open-air districts and malls, as well as natural wonders galore like the Golden Circle's Gullfoss (Golden Falls) and Thingvellir National Park. On a clear, sunny day, stroll alongside Reykjavik's Old Harbor to snap photos of the surrounding mountains, the Sun Voyager statue and the Harpa concert hall. Finally, wrap up your day in one of the bars and clubs clustered around Laugavegur.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated October 11, 2017

  • #1
    Things to do in Reykjavik
    View all Photos
    #1 in Reykjavik
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE

    The aurora borealis (or northern lights) can be an almost eerie sight: Picture emerald green swirls coloring the otherwise darkened sky. But scientists have a boring explanation for this phenomenal natural light show – "collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the Earth's atmosphere," according to the

    ...Read More »
  • #2
    Golden Circle
    View all Photos
    #2 in Reykjavik
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Golden Circle is a very popular, 190-mile-long tourist route that runs by Thingvellir National Park; the 105-foot dual cascading waterfall Gullfoss (Golden Falls); and the geothermal Haukadalur valley's Strokkur, a geyser that gushes water 60 to 100 feet into the air every five minutes; among other attractions.

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Sun Voyager (Sólfar)
    View all Photos
    #3 in Reykjavik
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    You'll find many sculptures scattered throughout Reykjavik, but for panoramic vistas and a look at one of the city's most iconic pieces, walk along the waterfront to the Sun Voyager (known locally as Sólfar). This steel sculpture, which was designed by Jon Gunnar Arnason, mimics a Viking ship and pays

    ...Read More »
  • #4
    South Iceland
    View all Photos
    #4 in Reykjavik
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you have a limited itinerary, you'll want to prioritize seeing theGolden Circle. But if you're staying in Iceland for multiple days, a trek throughout South Iceland is a must, according to recent travelers. This region, which is south and east of Reykjavik, boasts towering volcanoes, expansive glaciers, gushing waterfalls,

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Blue Lagoon
    View all Photos
    #5 in Reykjavik
    Natural Wonders, Spas
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Natural Wonders, Spas
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    About 30 miles southwest of Reykjavik, Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland's most popular tourist attractions. This geothermal mineral spa gives off an almost otherworldly look with azure-colored water and steam rising from its surface. The lagoon receives more than 700,000 annual visitors. For a little perspective, that's double the

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Hallgrímur's Church (Hallgrímskirkja)
    View all Photos
    #6 in Reykjavik
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Iceland's tallest and largest church is also its most photographed site. Named after 17th-century hymn writer and church scholar Reverend Hallgrímur Pétursson, this church took nearly 50 years to complete, with construction on it starting in 1945. The shape of the futuristic structure is a cross between a glacier and

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Laugavegur
    View all Photos
    #7 in Reykjavik
    Cafes, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Cafes, Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    For open-air shopping, stroll along Laugavegur. This shopping-centric street is filled with boutiques selling souvenirs, clothing and specialty foods like local cheeses and meats. Additionally, you'll find an array of restaurants that serve everything from Icelandic to Italian to sushi.

    ...Read More »
  • #8
    Harpa
    View all Photos
    Harpa
    free
    #8 in Reykjavik
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of Reykjavik's easiest structures to recognize is its concert hall and conference center, Harpa. Situated at the western end of the Sculpture and Shore Walk, Harpa's modern design regularly woos vacationers and architecture buffs alike. In fact, the window-centric building has won numerous design accolades, including the 2013 European Union

    ...Read More »
  • #9
    National Museum of Iceland
    View all Photos
    #9 in Reykjavik
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This interactive museum tells the history of Iceland, beginning with its pagan rituals and ending with contemporary fashion. Along the way, you'll "meet" a medieval chief and a 14th-century nun, among others, and you can hear about their life experiences via a one-way telephone conversation.

    ...Read More »
  • #10
    The Settlement Exhibition
    View all Photos
    #10 in Reykjavik
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    As its name implies, The Settlement Exhibition gives visitors a chance to learn more about Reykjavik's first settlers. The museum's main exhibit is an excavation site, which features the remains of a hall inhabited between A.D. 930 and 1000. Travelers can also learn more about how early Icelandic homes were

    ...Read More »
  • #11
    Árbaer Open Air Museum
    View all Photos
    #11 in Reykjavik
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    For a glimpse at what life was like in 19th- and 20th-century Iceland, visit the Árbaer Open Air Museum. This open-air attraction features more than 20 buildings that were originally located in central Reykjavik, plus exhibits about toys, the history of painting houses, early building techniques and more.

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Reykjavik

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